This whole “metaverse” word has been thrown around about as much as “blockchain” was some time ago, a bunch of megacorps want in on it, whatever they think it is. In general terms, it seems to define some sort of connecting virtual plane where someone can carry their virtual self between places without needing to make a dozen accounts and copy over data in different formats. Naturally, any megacorp with a craving for control is going to aim to be the one login people use for everything. For instance, Google accounts, even though the parent company is called Alphabet, it’s still definitely a Google thing, even if they renamed them Alphabet accounts later. That account logs into a bunch of things that aren’t Google-named, like YouTube or Blogger or whatever else they’ve bought or made up recently. It can also be used as a pass-through login to other services, and this is part of the meta approach, where instead of having an individual login for a service, it gets lumped under a Google login. It’s a lazy way to log into more accounts all while increasing dependency on Google. It’s not exactly my choice way to log into things, though, or using pass-throughs in general. Long story short, the more eggs one puts into a basket, the more that could break if that basket falls.
Some recent Facebook outage knocked out a bunch of connected services, including the whole Oculus thing which has some time ago mandated a Facebook login to use it. With everything that’s gone wrong with Facebook, such as Facebook itself, the company felt due for a name change, as that seems to be the corporate solution to any problem, like how Actiblizzard changed an Overwatch character’s name to something like Cowboy “Not Shane” Johnson or whatever because that company is also full of problems. Long story short, because Facebook is obsessed about being the new meta, they decided to just name themselves Meta. By overtaking that term they’re reaching as far as language itself, to where anyone wanting to describe something that is meta might later have to differentiate it from Meta with a capital M, unless they decide to follow that trend later where it’s all lowercase and making everything worse for everyone.
So, what does this new Meta bring? Probably same stuff, different name. Apparently some corporate casual focused headset to make the office more virtual, the usual. In the name of Oculus, which instead of Facebook Oculus will become Meta Oculus, they’re going to supposedly go back on requiring a Facebook login. I’m 99% sure they’re going to replace that requirement with a Meta login instead. I’m also about as sure that a Meta login will come with the same baggage a Facebook one currently does, like one to a person, some requirement of personal data that can be verified as needed, and whatever else. If it doesn’t and I can just slap together logins like certain burner mail accounts and the like, I’d be surprised.
While a big issue I have with Oculus is the whole Facebook thing, there’s still the issue of things being made exclusively for Oculus, particularly the Quest 2 as is current. Essentially VR being treated like a console rather than an input/output method. They’re continuing with porting old console games to it even, including the additional Facebook touch of reworking the content to fit their standards, naturally looking to piss off any purists of anything. While I’d like to recommend a cheaper VR option to anyone, the Quest 2 is not the ideal thing to recommend here with how locked down it is, needing some weird obtuse workarounds otherwise that might involve dealing more with Facebook before one can deal with them less.
As far as this metaverse idea goes, for Facebook Meta’s terms, it seems to involve legless cartoon people that look like how VR avatars were being defined back in the early resurrection of the idea last decade. Probably just aiming for mass appeal there, as I know they can go further with avatars, like giving them a lower half if one wants. In my experience, just about anything can be defined as an avatar, so a big part of whatever meta takes place is going to need that. Even Snow Crash, a book from the early 1990s that practically brought the metaverse term into modern existence, acknowledged that, including the tendency for some people to want to walk around as a giant and/or dick. The freedom of choice is pretty important, even if there’s a business-driven TOS hanging over things so that everyone doesn’t end up with a virtual schlong constantly hanging over them, and any VR social app that doesn’t have a decently suitable avatar customizer won’t be getting all the points in my book. It’s not necessarily being able to upload a model to anywhere, but having that particular option is greatly appreciated. Barring that, let me make something weird.
In general, the whole idea of being someone on something is the ability to be one’s self while not exactly being themselves if one chooses. While this does open the gate for malicious behavior, a lot of the time it’s not going to be that. People tend to want to do things and not necessarily ruin them, but it’s also forgetting about the possibility of those who do want to ruin things that can ruin those who forget the most. And of course if someone puts something online, chances are someone might want to steal it. Depending on the situation, this could be a little to a lot of ruin for someone, depending on how protective the creator or copyright holder and the intent of the apparent theft.
There’s this whole NFT thing where people want to actually claim potentially transferrable ownership of some random object of data, where it really amounts to some certificate of authenticity that can be claimed on that data as the data itself seems to be easily replicable. Not sure how well that’s going to work out for an anti-theft idea. It really seems more like an attempt to incorporate copyright or DRM into blockchain, and excessive copyright has been a wrench in the works since someone had the idea to make copyright extendable for whatever reason they chose, or more likely even before then. Probably that. Just check the music industry for a living example. Personally, I’m not throwing things I do into severe copyright and especially not obtuse DRM. And ideally I wouldn’t have to submit it for bureaucratic review under some megacorp, either.